CHICAGO — An Illinois man was ordered held without bond Thursday for allegedly threatening the lives of President Joe Biden and other Democrats before this week’s inauguration.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Fuentes rejected a defence argument that there was no evidence Louis Capriotti had any real plan to act on the threat. Capriotti, 45, of Chicago Heights faces a federal charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce.
In rejecting bail for Capriotti, Fuentes said it was concerning Capriotti continued to make threats of violence to members of Congress even after the FBI told him a year ago to stop making threats.
“Threats hurt people,” Fuentes said at the end of a nearly 90-minute hearing. “They terrorize people. They make people afraid. There’s an argument to be made that’s what they’re intended to do in the first place.”
During the hearing, prosecutors played an excerpt of the Dec. 29 call at the heart of the criminal complaint, left on the voicemail of an unidentified New Jersey congressman. The message was peppered with obscenities.
“If they think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that (expletive) White House on January 20th, they’re sadly (expletive) mistaken,” a man alleged to be Capriotti can be heard saying.
A similar threat was made concerning now Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The arrest of Capriotti came less than a week after supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from ratifying the electoral vote for Biden, leading to the deaths of a police officer and four others.
Capriotti’s lawyer, Jack Corfman, argued home detention would be sufficient to ensure the safety of the community, especially since Biden’s and Harris’ inaugurations passed and “went smoothly.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dunn disagreed, saying Capriotti has a long history of ignoring court orders and only needs a phone to continue his campaign of harassment.
The Associated Press